Quick study guide 15
Writing a report
Before writing, prepare thoroughly by following these steps:
Establish the purpose
can be based on practical work, a review of literature or an industrial or business situation
is always written with the intention of achieving an objective
establish the topic, scope and aim of your investigation (what you want to learn)
clarify the objective/s of your report (eg. to inform, convince, advise [who] of [what])
This forms the focus for the type of information you need to include and how you will gather it.
Analyse your audience
is always written for a "client", who can be within the organisation (eg. your supervisor), or outside the organisation (eg. a company, government body or industrial group)
must bridge the gap between the readers' background knowledge and their needs
First steps: identify your audience, their background knowledge and what they need or want to learn. This will help you to determine:
the type and amount of background information to include
content to include, and appropriate depth and breadth of treatment
linguistic style, choice of vocabulary, degree of detail, tone and emphasis
Investigate existing knowledge
This is likely to involve a literature review and perhaps interviews with key people.
Prepare your reading list, making sure to find out if you need information from sources other than books and articles.
Collect your information, making sure it is directly relevant to your topic and objectives.
Consider interviewing or talking to people who are involved. Avoid "hearsay"; the content of a report must be reliable and verifiable, ie. backed up by citations.
Obtain new evidence
This will involve one or more of the following:
collecting and analysing data
visiting a site
creating or modifying a design
testing an application
Analyse data to...